LEARNING THE GAME FROM THE DUGOUT
During the game of baseball, a pitch is delivered roughly every 20 seconds. What are you doing in the other 19 seconds? As a player we can learn about pitcher tendencies, situational execution, and game strategy by watching the game! When your team is on offense, watch the pitcher and see what pitches he is throwing. Is he throwing fastballs, curveballs, change ups? Is he throwing inside, outside, up? Is it a day that he is unable to throw is curveball for a strike?
When we watch the game, it helps us create a plan to execute when our at bat comes. Maybe a pitcher is throwing first pitch fastballs to everyone, now I know to be ready for fastball. Maybe the pitcher is unable to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, this makes it easier to not chase that breaking ball in the dirt. Every pitch is an opportunity to learn something about your opponent, we need to be willing to watch the game and use the information provided to our advantage.
As a pitcher in the dugout between innings, you can pay attention to many different aspects of the game. Is the umpire calling low strikes? If so, focus on using that pitch when you are on the mound. What’s the score? If your team just scored 5 runs, focus on getting that first pitch strike next inning. You should always want to throw first pitch strikes, but it is even more important after a good inning by your offense.
All in all, every moment can be a teaching moment for players. Learn the game, embrace the intricacies of baseball and try to get every advantage you possibly can – because the players on the other team are too!